Renovation tour - a grade II listed cottage gets a beautiful transformation
We love when we come across a renovation where the family have been so brave and tackled a huge project, creating the most amazing and unique family home.
This week, we chat to Danielle who owns @ahomefitforkings on Instagram - it's the most spectacular listed building which has links back to Queen Elizabeth I and King Charles I.
A project like this is so challenging, not only did they require Heritage consent for the renovation, but there is also the task of modernising the home whilst being sympathetic to the character of the original home. We particularly love the modern extension connecting the cottage to the stables!
We think Danielle and her family have done the most amazing job and are simply in awe of what they created. Thanks to Danielle for her advice and also for sharing her beautiful pictures.
Can you tell us about your home and renovation project?
Our home is a grade II listed cottage in Hertfordshire, dating back to the 1600s. It initially served as a farmers cottage. Later it became home for the gardeners for the estate that it served. It was a complete renovation - all of the house needed stripping bare, re-wiring and the heating replaced. We took out an external wall and linked our house to an 1800s brick built stable block which had sat unused on the land for some time.
The industrial looking kitchen is perfect with the exposed brick walls and flooring
Your home is a beautiful grade II listed cottage, have there been any particular challenges with planning permission?
We knew that we wanted to connect our house to the stable that was beside it, which had been unused for over 50 years. Our architect initially came up with a connection to the house which was rejected by the Heritage consent people: they felt it would be too intrusive to the homes behind us. They also wanted to see the link- so our architect redesigned and we now have a noticeable link with sliding doors and an aluminium roof!
The stunning Grade II listed building with the modern extension connecting the home with the converted stable
What has been the biggest challenge so far in your renovation?
The sheer scale of it! We moved out for a year and work is still being undertaken. We found this a big pressure on us as a family, and we’d underestimated the impact this would have on us, having young children, struggling with lack of sleep and being apart while my husband worked late at the house was a challenge. But worth it in the end!
This copper bath is an absolute dream
Have you worked with a budget and any advice on sticking to one?
We were not very budget conscious renovators. Things like the ground work, damp proofing, underpinning, underfloor heating, and labour costs were huge. When it came to purchases, we did shop around where we could, and found places like Industville had the look we liked but at a reasonable price. I love finding second hand furniture and got some bargains along the way. We are waiting for the January sales to buy a new sofa for our living room!
The exterior of the cottage has been lovingly restored
What are you most proud of in your home so far?
I’m proud that we’ve created a home which feels like ‘us’ in style, while preserving the history of this amazing building. The kitchen is the space that has elevated the house, and it’s a joy to be in here. I also love that it’s been a family effort. My father in law is a carpenter who has worked on the house from the beginning, and I think that’s really special.
We love this amazing staircase in the kitchen
What advice would you give to others who are about to start a renovation project?
Pin, pin, pin with wild abandon, so you know the look you are after. I also had a scrap book with cuttings from magazines, which I showed our architect when he was designing the kitchen.
When making purchases, I followed my gut a lot, not over thinking things but if I was drawn to them, I listened to my instincts and went for them! Although our kitchen is dark grey with a white stone top which seems ‘on trend’ at the moment, we’ve had this industrial look in our previous homes. Follow what you love, rather than trends!
Another fabulous bathroom, perfectly in-keeping with the rest of the house
Published: November 6, 2019
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